|Joe Lynn Turner The Usual Suspects||Frontiers Records |
Joe Lynn Turner has had a long and distinguished career – one which continues to roll on unabated. How can an artist, who has been in the business some 30 years manage to record and release what could arguably on of his best albums to date?|
Well, simply from recognizing what his strength's are, writing great songs around that premise and having people around him that drive him to outstanding performances.
That's exactly what has happened, as out of all Joe's solo records, I will now go for this one first above any other – as I think it is simply the best collection of songs he has recorded.
Joe has had a varied career – which has always had that blues rock stamp on it, but has also seen him diversify into soul, straight ahead rock, hard rock and classic rock covers.
The Usual Suspects covers all areas (no covers though) – but remains a very focused and cohesive record.
It's funny I should make the same comment here about Joe as I did Glenn Hughes and his current album, especially when the pair are inextricably bound in their careers.
But both singers have really looked back over their careers and delivered records that pay tribute to all aspects of their histories, while moving forward in the direction that best suits them.
In Joe's case, it's straight ahead melodic hard rock, with a bluesy rock edge.
The single best quality of this album is the strength of choruses. That's maybe one area that needed some attention and this album delivers each and every track.
Track By Track:
Power Of Love is the best example. This is a soaring rock anthem with a huge hook and is classic JLT as he should always be.
Devil's Door is a tougher, darker, 70's style hard rocker, with some inspired bluesy guitar parts over a powerful lead vocal.
Jack Knife is a double-time rocker that is a clear reminder of Deep Purple and Rainbow and will be another fan favourite.
After three fist pumping rockers, it's time to mellow out. And again, Joe does it in style, with two contrasting ballads. Really Loved is a very smooth blues ballad, with some atmospheric keyboard and harmony vocal parts. Joe sings with as much emotion and feeling as he ever has.
The second ballad Rest Of My Life follows in a more traditional rock ballad vein – with a tougher approach, some guitar impact and a big chorus.
Into The Fire is a different beast again. It's a rocker, but maintains a restrained vibe, never breaking out of its reins, while offering something a little different for long time fans.
Blood Money is a pretty much straight ahead blues based mid-tempo rock track. At this point I'm thinking a tempo lift would be very handy indeed, but rather another mid-tempo ballad is offered. Thankfully All Alone is a great track with an emotional vocal and a solid chorus.
But, a tempo lift is definitely needed now and Ball And Chain does just that. Joe delivers a cool raspy vocal, but I would have liked the tempo to have been upped a little further still.
Live And Love Again is another ballad and although there are already a few on the album, this is another great one with a big, powerful vocal and some great melodies.
Unfinished Bizness is a European bonus track, but I'm thankful it's here, as it closes out the album in the best possible way. It's a big fat rocker, with a Deep Purple vibe and another great vocal that defines what Joe Lynn Turner is all about.
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